Hi ICECReamers! Gosh we were missing this! Happy new year to everyone! I hope you all had a great time!
Leo is a sports enthusiast (this does not actually mean that he is a good athlete anyway) and in 6 months time we will have the 2012 London Olympic Games, which will be awesome!
Every time that we heard about high level sports, some of us will thought about doping. It is not a surprise that we will be disappointed by knowing that “talented” athletes will get caught by doping agencies, especially in major sports events such as the Tour of France, World Soccer Cup and the Olympic Games. Have you noticed that major events are the ones with the highest number of athletes caught by doping? It seems that athletes usually do not want to use illegal drugs in minor/unrepresentative sports events… on the other hand someone might say that major events are the ones that control the use of drugs better than small ones… having saying that, it seems obvious that some athletes would try to take the risk in major events, and if they DON’T get caught, they would become history!
I found a very interesting paper published by the editors of Infection and Immunity that have just been published (you can find the full paper here: http://iai.asm.org/content/79/10/3855.long). This paper discusses the topic of scientific misconduct in a very elegant way. The authors created an index named “the retraction index” which means the correlation of the number of retractions of each journal by the journals’ impact factor. Amazingly the authors observed a strong correlation between these two variables, meaning that some authors are also taking the risk of doing scientific misconduct in order to get a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Science or Nature, for example. On the other hand, it seems that fabrication of data, plagiarism and other types of misconduct are less frequent (or less likely) to occur in journals with smaller impact factors. The same thought of doping applies here: maybe small journals do not investigate the trustworthiness of their papers properly compared to super-high impact factor journals.
Simple editorial policies, such as the inspection of the raw data during peer review by the journal editors can solve some of these problems; however these actions are usually time-consuming, expensive and can be considered “aggressive” by some authors in some circumstances. Another common thing that it has been happening is that the journal published the “dodgy/fake paper” saying that it has been retracted by the journal and leave the explanations for the retractions publicly available on indexing databases such as pubmed as well as on the journal’s website, so this embarrassment can discourage authors to do something wrong in the future. Blogs like http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/ are also helping a lot on this issue.
Scientific misconduct is not very rare and it seems that it has been increasing; we wonder what you guys think about this, and what can be done in order to reduce this unfortunate problem.
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academic misconduct advertising Bec Bruno career Cartoon Chris W cochrane collaboration conferences cost doping evidence-based practice experiences experts fun grants hours interpreting research LBP Forum learning Leo C lifestyle Luciola C nerds networking new skills Nick H PhD placebo presentations profiles publications question of science reporting research methods research translation Sport stats Steve K study quality supervisors Tasha tips for research videos WCPT work-life workload writing Zoe M